A campaign has been started to ask First Bus to introduce fairer bus fares after last year’s price hike.
Politicians and councillors from the Leeds North West area have called on the bus company, who run a huge number of the city’s services, to listen to residents and lower the price of tickets.
This follows the city’s drive for people to use the city’s public transport rather than rely on cars or taxis to lower air pollution and congestion.
However, the Leeds North West Labour team believe that the current price of tickets on First Bus services may discourage people from using public transport.
Councillor James Gibson, Labour member for Weetwood Ward, is one of the people organising the ‘Fair Fare’s’ campaign alongside Headingley and Hyde Park Councillor Neil Walshaw and Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel.
Coun Gibson said: “It is right to encourage people to use public transport in the city but part of that is making sure it is cheap and accessible.
“Ordinary people have already had a huge squeeze on the money they’re taking home every month yet the bus fare increase is another price hike which makes it tougher for ordinary lower and middle income families.
“It’s making public transport out of reach which is bad for the environment, air pollution and congestion in the city.”
There has already been a public meeting with First Bus to discuss the issue and a second public meeting is being arranged.
Now the organisers are encouraging residents to write to them with their experiences of the fare increases.
Coun Gibson said: “First Bus came to the initial meeting with the organisers and although they didn’t make any promises they did agree to follow up with a second meeting.
“It’s seems that they are listening but as of yet there is no indication that they are doing something.
“First Bus should be having public consultations to listen to local residents about their needs and experiences.“
A FirstDay Leeds ticket (bought onboard the bus) is currently £4.50 and a FirstDay West Yorkshire is now £4.90.
Weekly Leeds tickets (bought onboard the bus) are £17 and a West Yorkshire wide weekly ticket is £22.
Martin Hirst, Commercial Director at First West Yorkshire said: ““Travel by bus offers great value for money and we remain committed to working with local authorities and partners to improve the customer experience, improve bus infrastructure to reduce congestion which will tackle the rising costs of bus operation and encourage more people to travel by bus.
“Our data shows that more customers are now opting for weekly or monthly tickets, as these offer the best value for money, based on the average cost per trip.
“For example, in West Yorkshire, the average cost for an adult trip is £1.76 and a child trip is £1.01.
“We recognise that different customers want different ticketing solutions and that some people want to continue to pay with cash, however, our best value fares are offered on our mTickets App, which we actively publicise to customers.
“Purchasing tickets in advance of boarding means that customer boarding times and cash handling is reduced, which is beneficial to both the driver and customers.”